William Purvis of Philadelphia invented and patented improvements to the fountain pen in 1890. William Purvis made several improvements to the fountain pen in order to make a "more durable, inexpensive, and better pen to carry in the pocket." Purvis used an elastic tube between the pen nib and the ink reservoir that used a suction action to return any excess ink to the ink reservoir, reducing ink spills and increasing the longevity of the ink. Fountain pens were first patented as early as 1809.
William Purvis - Improved Fountain Pen - patent #419,065 1/7/1890
William Purvis also invented several other inventions including two machines for making paper bags (which Purvis sold to the Union Paper Bag Company of New York), a bag fastener, a self-inking hand stamp, and several devices for electric railroads. His first paper bag machine (patent #293,353) created satchel bottom type bags in an improved volume and greater automation than previous machines.